Pi NoIR – the first photo; Eben at GigaOM

I’ve got a sample of Pi NoIR, the camera board variant with no infrared filter that we talked about here yesterday, on my desk. I thought you’d like to see a picture. You’ll notice one big difference from the regular camera board: the solder mask is black, not green, so you can easily tell which is which if you own both.

Click to embiggen!

In other news, Eben has just got back from a one-day visit to San Francisco, where he was presenting at GigaOM. Here’s his talk to see you into the weekend: enjoy!

60 comments

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I look forward to seeing what projects people create with the new camera version!

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Astronomers photograph nebulas with the IR filter removed, it brings out the reds in the nebulas much stronger. They attach a modified camera directly to the telescope. These are expensive and quite rare. I can see the NoIR revolutionising astrophotography.

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Phew. Looks like the colour contrast of the solder mask is sufficiently different from the normal version that even a heavily colour-blind person like myself can tell them apart.

Because I sure won’t be able to tell them apart from their daylight output ;-) Red trees, green trees, brown trees… all looks the same to me.

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If there’s any really dumb red/green stuff we’re doing on the website that makes your life more difficult, can you drop me a line? Ta!

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Nope, never has any colour distinction issue with the foundation’s website or indeed any of their output. That’s not to say there aren’t any, but if there are, they don’t get in the way of the message and functionality.

Colour vision deficiency affects around one in ten British males (although most will be a lot less severe than me), so thanks for asking.

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I’m one of those one in ten!

The Raspberry Pi Guy

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I like the way Eben’s head becomes the O in gigaom in the interview.

@andrew Oakley it’s a shame that you don’t get to appreciate all the beautiful autumn colours being color blind

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Hmm, should make a useful night surveillance camera for Pi Noir, Private Eye

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I didn’t want to be the first to comment on the reference to Guy Noir…

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So NoIR = No IR = noir = black, in French; so it has a black solder mask.
Neat.

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So, does this mean the standard camera’s going to be called the Pinot Noir……

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No it will be called Pi Vert:
vert = green in french
:)

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Dans le nuit, tous le Pis sont noir.
(paraphrase of a French saying: “At night, all cats are black”)

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apologies to the francophones; of course that should have been ..les Pis… (plural)

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… and in French, a pic vert (the “pic” is pronounced “pee”, which is also how they pronounce “Pi”) is a woodpecker!

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Just clarifying the difference between this and a “normal” RPi camera module. Is it that the IR blocking filter is removed. And that the Bayer filter is still in place over the image sensor, no change there ?

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Yes, that’s right. No IR filter, but the Bayer filter is still in place (and I’m *pretty* sure it’s impossible to remove by hand, although knowing the lengths Pi owners are prepared to go to, I wouldn’t swear to that).

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I take it the bayer filter just limits what light can enter what parts of the sensor, and as such if you could remove it and went black and white only you’d have a brighter image?

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayer_filter probably says it all better than I ever could. Basically is is a way to get RGGB from grayscale by filtering red, green, green and blue light (the human eye likes green, evolution is weird like that).

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So is my original idea correct, removing the filter (if you could) and setting the recording to black and white would increase brightness?

Are there any other advantages to doing this?

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IIRC, the bayer filter is directly attached to the top of the sensor and it’s an array of red green and blue microlenses of the size of the pixel. Not really something you can remove as far as I know.

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@edwinj85 It is a layer on the bottom (or top) of the silicon (see this for an example http://www.ovt.com/technologies/technology.php?TID=7 of what I mean).
So you would have remove a layer of lenses, and then a RGGB filter from the silicon chip and not damage anything. I honestly do not see it happening outside of million euro/dollar/pound labs. If you had access to the technology that could safely remove this layer it would probably be cheaper to make your own sensors.

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Normally I would agree with you, but since there is a -raw option for raspistill – some mad people may start to use Aqua regia on the bottom/top of the image sensor to strip off the Bayer filter.

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For a bayer filter to work it has to be right on the sensor.

I’d imagine any attempt to remove it mechanically would be almost certain to destroy the sensor. I guess it may be possible to remove it chemically if you can find a chemical that will dissolve the filter without dissolving what is underneath.
.

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And a chemical which does not have a p or n doping effect on the silicon. I suppose that you could think of silicon as glass, so it has to be a chemical which does not effect glass and dissolves plastic, at a guess the Bayer filter (and the lenses above each pixel) are plastic. But then the new problem would be how to add a layer of lenses! One per pixel, to focus the light on each of the photo diodes.

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So it becomes a problem of bleaching the filter without affecting the focal lengths of the microlenses. Is it safe to assume the Bayer filter uses pigments, rather than some ingenious prism-like system?

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Speaking of black solder masks, how about a black version of the Pi? I would totally but 2 id they came in black.

I am excited for this camera because Ive always wanted to make a “night vision” thing of my own. I have some of those “night vision binocular” spy toy things, but its just not as satisfying as making it yourself.

Cant wait!

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Remember you’ll need some IR light source too.

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That I will!

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“Speaking of black solder masks, how about a black version of the Pi?” How about spray paint? I’m thinking of the translucent “candy” coat used for charcoal metallics. And why stop with black? Liz, how would you feel about a candy red Pi? Just no actual metallic coatings, please!

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Because Spray paint would look ugly. I want to to see the parts just as they are, but im not a fan of the green PCB.

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Can we get a photo of one of the new (or old) camera modules taken by one of the new camera modules? That would be cool.

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For night-time use you still need some kind of IR or normal light. For IR, most security cameras use LEDs around 830-850 nm wavelength (which look dull red to the eye) or 940 nm (which is invisible, at least to my eye). Cameras show a brighter image at 850 nm than 940 nm, other things being equal (eg. total # and power of LEDs). I see IR LED illuminators on Ebay around $10, claiming 10 m distance or more. They often need a 12V supply.

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Gotta go with the 940 if you want to be completely covert! XD

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Covert only to those without night vision systems :) Probably few sometime soon :)

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New form factor? Any ideia of where you want to go with that? extra IO, breadboard friendly, different choice of connectors, integrated uC or sensors?

throw us a bone here (no pun intended)

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No bones I’m afraid.

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Will wait for pie then ;)

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Why not print no-IR on the board? Seems like it would be easy to do as other words are already printed on the board.

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An air filter allows air through.
An oil filter allows oil through.
A blue light filter allows blue light through.
An IR filter allows IR through.

So technically it would need to be “no-IR blocking” filter.

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… though a coffee filter doesn’t let coffe (grounds) through …

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Or a Pinot noir!
Tasty!

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Thanks for posting the video in MP4, so that people with the native rPi software can see, download and watch the contents. Kudos!!

Also, I’m hoping that RPF doesn’t get bought out by some super conglomerate and takes the pi away. That would be sad.

eben

We’re so dependent on what format publishers of video decide to use. We got lucky with this one! (This is Liz, by the way, on Eben’s computer…)

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> (This is Liz, by the way, on Eben’s computer…)

Don’t forget the standard IT industry rule: walk away without locking your console session, and by the time you come back, you will have magically emailed the entire company/department offering to buy them lunch.

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IR cut filters are usually sandwiched between optical low pass filters. The OLPF eliminates Moire fringing.

Is the NoIR going to retain an OLPF?

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Many of the small camera modules have the IR filter mounted on the lens cell. OPLF is normally on the sensor.. But with 1.4 um pixels, and diffraction… Do you even need a oplf ?

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Did Eben get to visit Noisebridge hackerspace while in SF? if not it’s a must next time through. I stopped in on them last month while on vacation, asked a fellow how many people there were working with the Raspberry Pi. He simply pulled one out of his pocket, smiled and said that many of the members were experimenting with it. That made me smile as well…

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Not this time – although we have been before. (Poor Eben was in the US for under 24 hours this time.)

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congratulations on the new camera line… as long as they are setting up the new line could the leave off the drop of glue on the lens?? :-) ie. for macro stuff? just a thought

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Brilliant news!! Can’t get used to cloud-requiring cameras. It’s creepy, I don’t know how people don’t get that.

I’ll get, at least, two of them. One for baby monitor and the other to play with or security.

A wide lens would be terrific, or the ability to swap lens easily.

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There are cloud-requiring cameras?
0.0

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Will you put an IR-LED on this cameraboard (similar to the orange activity-LED you put on the standard camera-board) ? That way, the camera has it’s own IR light source.

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Looking forward to having these on our shelves!

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Hi guys,

thats great! We have tested the normal camera with software “motion” for our bird house and our golden hamster house. The results are not so good (horrible ;-).
Is there a way for using the camera with motion and good results ? Please inform us – my son is hungry for watching his hamster. Thanks and a lot of fun for all ! Rabis49

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Did you tried with good quality of webcam/camera

Or you can also use zoneminder

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yes I really want one or two…

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Am I the only one … this guys look a like Jason Statham from side view
By the way, nice subject..

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Yeah, it was a bit of a running joke for a while… ;)

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